CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - It was a dangerous night in the Heartland, February 28, 2017.
Literally, a life or death situation with multiple tornadoes. Getting information to our viewers was critical.
At one point, our crew was in the direct path of the Perryville tornado. We told our guys to head south on I-55, away from the storm. But, we noticed several sets of headlights in the northbound lanes. Drivers headed right into danger. How would they get warnings?
It's an all too real scenario for Perryville resident, Aarica Stephenson.
"Not long after Murphysboro it started getting really bad," Stephenson said.
Aarica was trying to get home to Perryville from Carbondale that night. She found herself right in the teeth of the storm. She was getting alerts to her smartphone but she wasn't sure what to do.
"The text alerts would just say tornado warning in your area but I didn't know if they meant the area where my phone was registered or the area I was currently located," Stephenson said.
We took that question to Director of Missouri Public Safety, Drew Juden. Juden says the alerts on your phone are activated based on your phone location, not the city in which it's registered.
"I would encourage everyone to activate that feature on your phone because that way you'll get your alerts geographically," Juden says.
Here's what you need to do. In your phone's settings, go to notifications and scroll to the bottom. Make sure Emergency Alerts is in the 'on' position.
It's something you can do with your KFVS Weather app as well. Go to settings and find Alert Location. You can set it to get notifications based on your city or your current location.
But both Aarica and Juden agree, the best thing to do is be prepared for severe weather and to not find yourself out driving in it in the first place.